Cape Cod Institute
 
Behavior OnLine Forums  
The gathering place for Mental Health and
Applied Behavior Science Professionals.
 
Become a charter member of Behavior OnLine.

Go Back   Behavior OnLine Forums > BOL Forums > Evolutionary Psychology

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #31  
Unread February 13th, 2006, 04:19 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 483
Default Re: Free Will

Quote:
TomJ: Seems to me that Todd's point was that Flew wasn't much of an atheist to start with and didn't actually change.
Sure Tom, undoubtedly. It’s like when a so-called believer stops going to Church, falls away—it then becomes obvious to the “true believers” that the one that fell was never a true believer to begin with . . . thanks for another example of how religious fundamentalism and most varieties of atheism are similarly small-minded and intolerant.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Unread February 13th, 2006, 04:59 PM
alexandra_k alexandra_k is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 106
Default Re: Free Will

> I have little tolerance for philosophy that takes common words and then defines them so differently that you have to read volumes to figure out that they're saying something completely different. Defining a term 'compatibilism' is a great idea, using terms that are opposed: 'determinism' and 'free will', is not as much a great idea. Someone must have changed the meaning of one of them to the point where they probably ought to create a new word.

Lol!!!!! I have little tolderance for science that takes common words (like 'consciousness') and then defines them so differently that you have to read volumes...

(Consciousness is essentially subjective - only I know what it is like to be me and only I have access to my conscious states - so how can you have a third person / objective science of consciousness?)

No. They are talking about 'reportability' or 'wakefulness' or 'awareness' - all of which could happen without consciousness (it is logically possible)...

So... I do have sympathy. However... It comes back to the point about the people who died in the name of freedom. Were they fighting for an illusion? What is freedom if it is not the ability to exercise ones free will? I'm just thinking that standard terminology is that... There are a couple different senses of free will (or - there are a couple different theories of its nature). And... Libertarianism is one (which we agree is either a false theory of the nature of free will OR if it is a true theory of the nature of free will THEN we do not have free will. Compatible theories of free will... are another. They are typically considered theories of 'free will'. You are of course free (ha!) to use your own idiosyncratic terminology... But it makes things a bit tricky (though we seem to be doing fine with understanding each other really)...

Also...

'Pre-determined'. I don't really like that... Want to allow for the very real possibility that there may be an irreducibly indeterministic element to physics... And might want to allow for the very real possibility that such indeterminacies aren't confined to the sub-atomic level... They might 'percolate up' to the chemical, biological, social, psychological levels too...

Beliefs... Are you willing to grant that strictly speaking there are no such things? The trouble with terms like 'knowledge' 'truth' 'justice' etc etc 'free will' even... 'belief' etc is that if we do not revise our concepts so that it is possible for us to have them... Well... Then we do not have them.

I'm willing to argue for that (though I'd prefer to argue about 'beliefs' rather than the others)...

But I'd better pack...
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Unread February 13th, 2006, 07:33 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 483
Default Re: Free Will

Quote:
TomJ: Also, I deeply pity your apparent inability to express your points without insulting me ("whining", this time).
Oh Tom, Tom, if you’ll recall, here’s how things actually evolved:

In discussing morality you stated that, “Morality is burned into our DNA,” and I replied that, “I was expecting a little more rigor and honesty here,” that “if that’s all there is, then your DNA “morality” is really not “morality,” it’s simply genes/algorithms, and the resulting behavior we might see, say, in a wolf pack . . .”

Then you griped: “So now you're calling me a stupid liar,” that you expected “a bit more “morality” from me, and added that I was “too busy insulting people, maybe in the hopes of saving them to the grace of god where wars and natural disasters have no effect,” and that my “illusions are going to be the cause of our ultimate demise. That's what really scares me.”

Your additional sarcasms:
Quote:
I hope you do, however, continue to read with as much of an open mind as you can afford.

Your extrapolation of someone's idea of entropy to mean God the Father Who Art in Heaven, is somewhat LESS than objective, at least to me because I do not accept it….

Your precept of everyone sinning and needing to bend to your imaginary beliefs (or what???) is what is scary. And not only because it puts everyone in the position of unearned shame.
Finally, trying to help you see the irrationality in your “scary” feeling, I noted that there’s no rational reason for you to be whining about other automatons, that don’t share your atheism, being “scary,” b/c in such a world we’re all, after all, merely automatons driven by blind determinism.

And now you whine: “I deeply pity your apparent inability to express your points without insulting me.” Gee, it looks like you’ve been doing the insulting here, and frankly Tom, I’m surprised how magnanimous I’ve been . . . you’re beginning to irritate me though.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Unread February 14th, 2006, 12:52 AM
ToddStark ToddStark is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 174
Cool Flew's putative conversion

I have always had some fundamental epistemological differences with Fred regarding how human reason operates, and it makes these kind of conversations very cloudy despite our intentions to clarify. He despises my "Necker Cube" metaphor for how human beliefs can orient and shift as a cluster, and to me it is almost indispensible. The different epistemologies bring us to different philosophies of science, and different stances toward scientific realism. It also brought us to very different ways of thinking about Flew's putative religious conversion. I see it as more of a nuance of his previous view rather than something grossly different from his atheism. Not much hinges on it for me.

I think human reason is generally underdetermined by evidence and operates out of webs of background schema rather than from strict logical inference. That is, we can reason scrupulously from evidence, yet come to different outcomes. To me, this position is entirely compatible with scientific realism. I think there is a single real world that we can come to know to some degree, and that different perspectives provide us with different aspects of that world rather than different worlds. The kind of realism that regards entities and substances is somewhat stronger than that which regards theories, but I am very much positively disposed toward both.

The underdetermination of reason is important because it means honest empirical inquiry is not just a matter of logical reasoning from evidence. It also requires various epistemic virtues, both individually and applied in communities and historical trails of reasoning. The things that distinguish science also distinguish good detective work and all other forms of empirical inquiry, making them different from all sorts of rational enterprises such as theology and literature which are not forms of inquiry in the same sense.

Consider this. Although Flew and Dan Dennett were/are both famously atheists, I perceive their reasoning to that stance as completely different. It would be a spectacular conversion for Dennett to take on a deist viewpoint because he is a thorough-going naturalistic philosopher whose whole focus is finding natural explanations for the sorts of things most of us look to the heavens to resolve. Flew's arguments have always been of a more general metaphysical and ethical sort, and it is to me more of a nuance from his principled atheism and anti-religionism to a non-religious sort of philosophical deism.

I would expect a radical atheist like Dawkins to convert to charismatic religion before either Flew or Dennett, because I see extremist viewpoints being more similar through extremism itself than through reason, which is why they are rightly considered extremist.

I don't see specific articles of belief as the issue, I see motivated patterns of reasoning and action as the issue. So for me very little hinges on whether someone believes in a deity in a particular form. To me, it is the web of reasoning and actions that flow from it that are important.

I know Fred hears this sort of argument and can honestly perceive nothing but sophistry on my part. Which is why I haven't been contributing here for a while, there is seemingly no middle ground and it just gets too frustrating for me just to express my viewpoint and not even remotely be heard.

Well, here is one more attempt, just in case the world of the forum has changed in the past few months.

kind regards,

Todd
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Unread February 14th, 2006, 10:04 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 257
Default Re: Free Will

In reply to Fred's post #33:

Yes, and if you recall, I accepted your point and apologized for extrapolating your writings and filling in my experience for your religious views, which I know very little of. Again, I'm sorry. But you're certainly free to keep beating me on the head with it.

But I give honest answers to your questions or points in the hope that you understand where I'm coming from, and maybe we can teach each other something. That's what the rest of us on this forum seem to be doing. I know my honesty and my thinking out loud makes me vulnerable but I really can't imagine where you got the idea that there was somewhere to get more honesty from. If I say something and someone asks for more honesty, I can see through the passive aggression and call a duck a duck. Frankly, I've noticed that far too many prior visitors to this site have made an argument with you as their last posts.

And you might also have noted that I wrote "I'm afraid that you're missing the point. We're all automatons taking in what we hear, processing it in our brains, and then acting on it.", which I thought directly argued against your characterization of my views as 'blind determinism'. If this is not clear, I'd really appreciate questions so that I can make it more clear. You can ignore my post, or you can argue my points, but I think it's very unfair to mischaracterize my views when you put words in my mouth.

And I'm not whining when I say that I know you're not ultimately responsible for your attitude and I have great sympathy for your predicament. I'll try not to irritate you further but I feel compelled to note your history to others so they don't get run off, too.

If you have a direct question, I'll do my best to answer it. It will be honest but I can only promise as much rigor as I can muster; probably not as much as you'd like.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Unread February 14th, 2006, 10:15 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 257
Thumbs up Re: Flew's putative conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddStark
Consider this. Although Flew and Dan Dennett were/are both famously atheists, I perceive their reasoning to that stance as completely different. It would be a spectacular conversion for Dennett to take on a deist viewpoint because he is a thorough-going naturalistic philosopher whose whole focus is finding natural explanations for the sorts of things most of us look to the heavens to resolve. Flew's arguments have always been of a more general metaphysical and ethical sort, and it is to me more of a nuance from his principled atheism and anti-religionism to a non-religious sort of philosophical deism.
Wow, I actually understood this! Well, once I went to dictionary.com and found "Deism: The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation.
". I'm still not convinced that a capital 'G' God created the universe, but can accept that s/he (for Margaret's sake) "assuming no control over life". Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Unread February 14th, 2006, 10:46 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 483
Default Re: Free Will

Quote:
Todd: Consider this. Although Flew and Dan Dennett were/are both famously atheists, I perceive their reasoning to that stance as completely different. It would be a spectacular conversion for Dennett to take on a deist viewpoint because he is a thorough-going naturalistic philosopher whose whole focus is finding natural explanations for the sorts of things most of us look to the heavens to resolve. Flew's arguments have always been of a more general metaphysical and ethical sort, and it is to me more of a nuance from his principled atheism and anti-religionism to a non-religious sort of philosophical deism.

I would expect a radical atheist like Dawkins to convert to charismatic religion before either Flew or Dennett, because I see extremist viewpoints being more similar through extremism itself than through reason, which is why they are rightly considered extremist.
Hi Todd, good to hear from you. You seem to be doing well.

I’m inclined to agree with your comment regarding Dawkins, but I hope he never converts b/c he can only hurt whoever’s side he’s on—I’m praying he remains atheism’s cool aid drinker. (HeyTomJ, just jesting.)

Regarding Dennett, last I looked his “free will” is, at best, “won’t will.” And as I recall, there were rumblings, somewhere, from Dennett suggesting that he may be somewhat less than enthusiastic about his own atheism, making it a little difficult to take too seriously his convoluted speculations regarding free will.

Regarding Flew’s, in your view, not so spectacular conversion, I suppose it would be similar to the Pope becoming an atheist—although a lot of Catholics would be upset, the Baptist young-earth fundamentalist true believers would claim to not be all that surprised b/c they always knew that the Pope was a nuanced evolution believing antichrist anyway.

Keep it real, bro.

Fred
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Unread February 14th, 2006, 11:04 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 257
Default Re: Free Will

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
Regarding Dennett, last I looked his “free will” is, at best, “won’t will.” And as I recall, there were rumblings, somewhere, from Dennett suggesting that he may be somewhat less than enthusiastic about his own atheism, making it a little difficult to take too seriously his convoluted speculations regarding free will.

Regarding Flew’s, in your view, not so spectacular conversion, I suppose it would be similar to the Pope becoming an atheist—although a lot of Catholics would be upset, the Baptist young-earth fundamentalist true believers would claim to not be all that surprised b/c they always knew that the Pope was a nuanced evolution believing antichrist anyway.
Fred, could you please provide a source so I can verify, "there were rumblings, somewhere, from Dennett suggesting that he may be somewhat less than enthusiastic about his own atheism", that would be truly interesting. Though if they really are only "rumblings" of "suggestions" that he "may" be "somewhat"... I don't think that would impress me very much.

And, I also can't get my head around the difference between "pure atheism vs god only created the universe, nothing more" and "the Pope deciding there is no God" being anything close to "similar".

Todd, it is REALLY great to have you back; I actually learned something in your first post. I'm sorry we lost Lizzie and Carey; and who knows how many casual readers. Margaret and Alexandra are too important to lose. I warned Margaret not to bother 'tilting against the windmill' but she handled herself VERY well. Feel free to not take Fred's baiting, a simple "I disagree" would suffice for me.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Unread February 14th, 2006, 12:32 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 483
Default Re: Free Will

Quote:
TomJ: . . . could you please provide a source . . . I don't think that would impress me very much.

And, I also can't get my head around the difference between "pure atheism vs god only created the universe, nothing more" and "the Pope deciding there is no God" being anything close to "similar".
Wow. That’s amazing. If you don’t see that leaping from “pure atheism” to God “created the universe [what else is there?]" on the one hand, is anything “close to similar” to leaping from the Pope’s faith that God created the universe to “there is no God,” on the other hand, then that pretty much explains everything . . . as Dr. Phil might say, I am stupefied.

Yeah Tom, I got a source for the Dennett thing, but really, why bother. Anyway, Todd’ll know what I’m referring to. And if worst come to worst, there’s always Google. Good luck.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Unread February 14th, 2006, 12:51 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 257
Default Re: Free Will

Speaking of 'honesty' I've not seen as amazing an example of 'taking out of context' as turning:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomJrzk
Fred, could you please provide a source so I can verify, "there were rumblings, somewhere, from Dennett suggesting that he may be somewhat less than enthusiastic about his own atheism", that would be truly interesting. Though if they really are only "rumblings" of "suggestions" that he "may" be "somewhat"... I don't think that would impress me very much.
into:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
TomJ: . . . could you please provide a source . . . I don't think that would impress me very much.
But it is an excellent example of politics, if you happen to like such things.

And, for the sake of others, here is the last quote from Lizzie:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzie Pickard
This is going nowhere, and you're getting condescending. Farewell.
And here's Carey's last response to you, Fred:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carey N
Here's my last post on this thread. You don't really try to process what other people say, but rather selectively read their posts and then throw back ad hominem comments. It's frustrating.
I hope others read your previous posts before they bother responding to you...
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:08 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 1995-2004 Behavior OnLine, Inc. All rights reserved.